Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon kill 2 journalists of a pan-Arab TV station, 4 Palestinian militants

Israeli shelling on Oct 14 killed Reuters videojournalist Issam Abduallah and wounded other journalists from France’s AFP, and Qatar’s Al-Jazeera TV


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Published: Tue 21 Nov 2023, 5:51 PM

An Israeli strike on southern Lebanon on Tuesday two journalists reporting for the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV on the violence along the border with Israel, according to Lebanese officials and the TV station. A separate strike at another location in Lebanon killed four Palestinian members of the Hamas militant group.

The Pan-Arab Al-Mayadeen TV — politically allied with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah — identified the journalists who were killed while reporting in the town of Tair Harfa as correspondent Farah Omar and cameraman Rabih Maamari. It said they were “martyred by treacherous Israeli targeting,” adding it was an airstrike.

The strike that hit the journalists also killed a Lebanese civilian, Hussein Akil, said the station and Lebanon's state media.

The Israeli military said it was looking into the matter. In a statement earlier Tuesday, it said its aircraft “struck three armed terrorist cells in the area of the border with Lebanon” in addition to Hezbollah infrastructure.

Also in southern Lebanon Tuesday, an Israeli drone strike in the village of Chaatiyeh near the Mediterranean coast killed four members of Hamas, a Palestinian official and a Lebanese security official said.

The Palestinian official said they were members of the Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing. The Lebanese security official also confirmed that the four killed were members of Hamas without saying if they were from the military wing. A Hamas official in Lebanon said there were “a number of martyrs from the Palestinian resistance,” without confirming the number or identities.

The three officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal military information.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported that four people were killed in the vehicle but did not give any further details.

The Israeli military did not immediately comment on the strike.

The Lebanon-Israel border has been witnessing daily exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli troops. The clashes began a day after Hamas' attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7 that killed about 1,200 people while about 240 were dragged back to Gaza as hostages.

Israel has since carried out a wide-scale military campaign in the Gaza Strip, killing more than 12,700 people, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Hamas has large presences in Lebanon, which is home to tens of thousands of Palestinians, many of them living in the country’s 12 refugee camps.

On Oct. 14, Hamas said three of its fighters were killed along the border and their bodies held by Israel.

The killing of the journalists Tuesday spurred a widespread outcry in Lebanon.

“It was direct targeting. It was not a coincidence,” said Ghassan bin Jiddo, director of the TV channel, holding back his tears in a live broadcast. They join "the martyrs of Gaza,” he said

Last week, the Israeli government blocked Al-Mayadeen TV news channel from broadcasting in Israel.

Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the strike, saying that “this aggression proves again that there are no limits to Israel's crimes whose main goal is to silence the media that is revealing its crimes.”

“Treacherous Israel is targeting media crews in south Lebanon,” Lebanese Information Minister Ziad Makary said, describing the strike as “outrageous.”

Hezbollah's media office vowed in a statement that the killing of the journalists “will not pass without retaliation.”

Hamas also condemned the attack, calling it in a statement "a continuation of the savage war on our Palestinian people and our Arab and Muslim nation.”

In her last live report shortly before her death, Omar cited a Hezbollah statement issued Tuesday morning claiming a strike on a house in the northern Israeli city of Metula, where Israeli soldiers were stationed. Hezbollah said was in retaliation for Israel targeting civilian homes in south Lebanon.

“We are still in the early hours of the day, and we are following any developments that might happen,” were some of the last words that Omar spoke.

Local media reported several other Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon on Tuesday.

State-run National News Agency said Israel’s military struck the outskirts of the villages of Teir Harfa and Majdal Zoun. It also reported that another strike on a home in the border village of Kfar Kila killed a woman and wounded her granddaughter.

Israeli shelling in southern Lebanon on Oct. 14 killed Reuters videojournalist Issam Abduallah and wounded other journalists from France’s international news agency, Agence France-Presse, and Qatar’s Al-Jazeera TV.


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